Growing up as a Baptist, we did not usually observe Lent. But as an adult, living in a world of excess, observing Lent has become a regular practice in our lives. Last year, I was in the constant battle (ongoing) with clutter and stuff, so I did the 40 bags in 40 days challenge. It is amazing how much nonsense you can accumulate in your home. I tend to get sentimentally attached to random things, which sometimes border on the ridiculous, like any piece of paper Cole has touched, ever, in his whole six years of life (mommy probs). My stuff and attachment to stuff was taking over my entire life. I was not quite to the level of TLCs “Hoarders” show, but it was rough.
So I knew that the power of giving up something for 40 days, in order to symbolize the true meaning of Lent, was big. I had noticed that my sometimes negative attitude was poisoning my relationships and my daily attitude. Sometimes as women, and as humans, we have to be careful how we speak in a group, since many times it can take a turn for the negative, and become gossip and bashing, instead of a simple conversation. I mentioned a book I had been reading in my article last month, “Keep It Shut”, a book that pretty much changed the way I speak to and about people. Then my church did a viewing of “War Room”. THEN my Sunday School class began to read the book of James. Do you feel like maybe God was trying to nudge me to shut my mouth already? Yes. So for Lent I opted to give up speaking negatively about things and people. As a counselor, my style is very much cognitive behavioral, in that I realize that we cannot always change our situations, so we have to change the way we think about them. My attitude and my mouth was changing the joy I had for my career and my life, so I decided to make a change.
As a mama, I also recognize that my mini-me, Cole, hears everything I say, whether I think he is listening or not. This morning, during this tiring first week of Daylight Savings time, he said (in my own words back at me when I told him he simply had to get out of the bed or we would be late) “I am so exhausted!! You are killing me!!”. Knowing that I do not want to raise a negative Nancy kid who has a horrible attitude, I decided that Lent 2016 was the time for me to make a life change. Since making a conscious effort in my speech and prayer life, I have noticed incredible changes in my life. My work life has changed, and even something as simple as our relationships with neighbors has changed. If you cannot wrap your mind around what you are saying, and how it might affect other people, at least begin thinking about the power of negative speaking on your own life, and your outlook. Life is simply too short to be that unhappy all the time.